The ritual apparently signals that after seven years, the United States' Iraq combat and field casualties are over.
"I think everyone that's come over here will come home with a sense of accomplishment," one soldier said.
" I had a newborn right before I came out here. That's all I can think about right now, is going back and seeing my son, and holding him, and hoping he remembers who his dad is," said another.
To train and support Iraqi troops, 50,000 U.S. soldiers are to stay in Iraq for a year in non-combat roles.